Practical Magic: Audiosurf

By Jim Rossignol on January 17th, 2008 at 8:28 pm.

PuzzleZoom, I call it

Those handsome rakes over at Eurogamer are previewing the IGF finalists and they were kind enough to ask me to take a look at psychedelic music-morpher, Audiosurf. It’s a game that turns your MP3 collection into a kind of Wipeout-moulded puzzle game. Neat trick, I thought, and then proceeded to encapsulate my glee and mild bafflement in a moderately long-winded description:

The program analyses the track before you play, creating the pacing and the gameplay space that you’re going to be surfing through. This means that as the music peaks, so do the visuals that surround your game. If you’re in a particularly intense section, then the chances are that the music will be rising as you play. When the music hammers home its major releases, so the neon track scintillates around you. As you’ll see when you have a play of Audiosurf (because I’m sure every gamer and his roadie will want to take a look at this), it’s a deeply impressive effect, especially when the program takes just a few seconds to figure out how to deliver your MP3 back to you in audio-visual gameplay form.

Stuff like that.

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33 Comments »

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  1. Frans Coehoorn says:

    Awesome. Shortest game ever if you listen to grindcore though.

  2. The Unsung Hero says:

    My god, that looks pretty amazing. It’s like a spiritual successor to Harmonix’s early works (ie, Amplitude and Frequency). I’m deffo getting it when it gets released.

  3. dhex says:

    there’s no release date on this yet, huh?

  4. Alex says:

    I read about this. Looking forward to seeing how it actually plays.

    Re: release date – you can put yourself on their mailinglist. It’s not much, but still..

  5. Zeno, Internetographer says:

    Or, if you were a beta tester over their beta weekend, and have a little hax magic, you can be playing it right now.

    But that’s wrong. ;)

  6. I_still_love_Okami says:

    Hmmm…. Gota play it using the whole Merzbox as a source…

  7. dbd says:

    Looking good, It seems to manage with a wide variety of music surprisingly well, from Fiest right over to Afex Twin. Just hope I can still get a place on the beta :)

  8. Harbour Master says:

    Song 2 seems to show off its capabilities rather well.

  9. Chis says:

    The thought of playing any sort of rock or metal to a game like this makes me feel physically ill.

    This is what techno, trance and house were made for. Go blast some System 7 to this.

  10. StolenName says:

    Nice. This looks really exciting.

    Has a similar feeling to it as FreQuency or Amplitude by the looks of things. Loved those games and music games in general.

    How does the action correspond to the game play, from the videos it looks like it just focusses on the beats more than anything else.

    Would love to give this a shot.

  11. Flint says:

    Want.

  12. Flint says:

    Bah, brain malfunction. Was also meant to say that can’t wait testing an album like Mansun’s Six on this, something where there’s constantly a style or tempo change going on. Should be a wonderfully erratic gaming experience.

  13. Mouj says:

    Anybody tried with “Still Alive” yet ? :)

  14. Mouj says:

    Oh, did not notice that “Still Alive” is actually ranked at 9th position on the most popular tracks board they have there !

  15. Chis says:

    Dragonforce at 2nd?! Oh christy, make the pain stop!

  16. Ryan says:

    That looks absolutely fantastic.

    But ARGH THAT VIOLIN THING! I can’t believe that fake is still floating around p2p as an Aphex Twin track, it’s like how back in the days of Napster anything remotely funny would be tagged as either Weird Al or TMBG.

  17. Ryan says:

    Ooh, another beta weekend starts tomorrow! I am so there. Let’s see how this sucker likes “O Superman.”

  18. Yhancik says:

    Fabulous !

    http://www.swooshysoft.com/tunnelstorm.html tried something remotely similar, back then, but it wasn’t working as well as Audiosurf seems to.

  19. Garreett says:

    By the waaaaayyy….there’s ways of still playing this. A forum used to run a server, but the audiosurf devs found a way to turn that off. http://forums.facepunchstudios.com/showthread.php?t=478131

  20. SuperNashwan says:

    I know it hasn’t often been seen in a game and it’s a good idea, but the track analysis going on here is pretty crude compared to what most audio apps can manage. Either that or the way it interprets the music to seed the levels needs a hell of a lot of tweaking because it’s so hit and miss; from what I can tell it goes off the higher frequency energy levels to measure “intensity” and looks for snare hits to place objects on, which isn’t really working for the majority of music I tried it with.
    And that’s before you start to consider how bad the actual game mechanics are, particularly having a puzzle element sitting outside where you look to collect the blocks for it.
    When you find the right track though there’s definitely something there so hopefully the dev can polish this up into something a little less gimmicky.

  21. dhex says:

    i’m mostly interested in seeing what venetian snares does to it.

    i’m thinking early swans would be neat too.

  22. Zed says:

    Through Fire and Flames twitchfest? Sick.

  23. Zed says:

    Huh. Apparently I botched a tag.
    “http://www.gametrailers.com/player/usermovies/160659.html

  24. lio says:

    >>Awesome. Shortest game ever if you listen to grindcore though.

    “you suffer” comes to mind :-)

  25. FaceOmeter says:

    I’m taking Handel’s Messiah. Full on.

  26. Ryan says:

    Kate Bush’s “Waking the Witch,” Dick Dale’s take on “Hava Nagila,” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood” have all turned out aces so far. Surprisingly, so does “O Superman”- play it on something fairly relaxed, like Mono Pro, with the Cyclone sound set on, and if you’re doing well and picking up the majority of the color blocks you get an eerie little whoosh after most of Laurie’s lines. Very nice.

  27. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    why am i the only one playing funky town?

  28. Kieron Gillen says:

    Finally had a crack. Atlas by Battles works incredibly well.

    KG

  29. PleasingFungus says:

    Great game. Had a lot of fun with it, even got my brother involved… while the beta lasted. It seems to have trouble with songs that are too long or too short, when it comes to determining point values for its medals – two or three minutes seems to be the sweet spot. Also, there’s no balance whatsoever in the “cars.” But the game itself is enough to redeem all that.

  30. Kieron Gillen says:

    Highly recommend people try Wolf Like Me by TV On the Radio.

    KG

  31. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m turning this into a standing recommendation thing until the game comes out: Wuthering Heights was so good I had tears in my eyes – these synaesthetic, ripe waves of red sweeping up.

    KG